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The Hood River Issei: An Oral History of Japanese Settlers in Oregon's Hood River ValleyThe Hood River Issei: An Oral History of Japanese Settlers in Oregon's Hood River Valley

Professor Linda TamuraProfessor Linda Tamura

    Professor's Book Recommended for Sesquicentennial Reading

    Looking to learn more about the Oregon experience as the state celebrates its sesquicentennial this year? The Oregon State Library recommends Willamette University education Professor Linda Tamura's book, The Hood River Issei: An Oral History of Japanese Settlers in Oregon's Hood River Valley.

    The library placed Tamura's book on its list of 150 books that are highly recommended for all Oregonians to read during the sesquicentennial. The list includes fiction, nonfiction, history and poetry books for children, teens and adults. Together, the books provide a comprehensive view of the Oregon experience, state library officials say.

    The Hood River Issei, a finalist for the 1994 Oregon Book Awards, tells the story of the Japanese who immigrated to Oregon's rural Hood River Valley between the late 1800s and the 1920s. Through interviews with first-generation Japanese, known as Issei, Tamura captures their memories of life in Japan, immigration and settlement in the U.S. and the hardships they faced during World War II -- stories as integral to the Oregon experience as those of more "traditional" pioneers.

    "There were other 'Oregon trails,'" Tamura says. "It's important that we share the stories of all Oregonians, including those who crossed the Pacific and those who have immigrated from the South."

    Tamura, a native of Hood River and a third-generation Japanese-American, teaches early childhood and elementary education in the master of arts in teaching program at Willamette's School of Education. She is a co-editor-in-chief of the Oregon Encyclopedia, a comprehensive project compiling information about the state's history and culture. Learn about the project at www.oregonencyclopedia.org.

    Tamura will appear with Oregon Poet Laureate Lawson Inada Thursday, April 16, at 7 p.m. in Loucks Auditorium at Salem Public Library, 585 Liberty St. SE. The two will tell the story of a woman who created and operated a library inside a Japanese internment camp during World War II. The event is free and open to the public.

    To see the whole Oregon Sesquicentennial Book List, visit www.oregon.gov/OSL/OR150.shtml. All books on the list are widely available in Oregon's libraries and bookstores, or you can buy Tamura's book at The Willamette Store.

    02-20-2009